1860 Colt Army vs. 1858 Remington Army

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by kencat, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. kencat

    kencat New Member

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    I am somewhat torn on which one to purchase, I would appreciate any ones suggestions and why they feel the way they do. Ken
  2. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

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    Hi Ken, I've never owned a Colt 1860 repro, but I've owned a couple of Colt 1851 repros, and they have common features.... for one thing, the open-top Colt design is inherently weaker than the Remington frame, which has the strap over the top of the cylinder (as do modern revolvers). Another complaint I have against Colts, is that the spent caps occasionally fall off the nipples and jam the Colt's hammer. This doesn't happen with the Remington.

    Finally, there's the matter of removing the cylinder. On a Colt, you have to pull out the barrel wedge and remove the barrel/loading lever assembly from the frame - then the cylinder will slide forward off the cylinder pin.
    On a Remington, you only have to swivel the loading lever down about 45 degrees, and then pull the cylinder pin forward - the cylinder will fall out to the side. If you've ever seen the movie "Pale Rider", Clint Eastwood demonstrates how to do a rapid reload with a spare cylinder (near the end of the movie).
  3. Pustic

    Pustic Member

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    ofitg said it pretty well here and I can't think of anything to add. I own five 1858 Remington repros and if I lived back in those days, a .44 Remington would be the gun in my holster. Then I would upgrade to the 1875 Remington. The Colt may of been the better name, but Remington had the better revolver.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  4. ZZZ

    ZZZ New Member

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    I have both, and until you shoot both, it's a tough decision. I like the strength of the Remington, as well as the quick cylinder changes, but prefer the larger grips and feel of the '60 Colt. It justs points so much more naturally. It feels so right in the hand. To me, that more than makes up for the Colt's shortcomings. I have also converted both types of guns to cartridge, and the '60 with a Kirst Konverter with loading gate is easier to load and unload. It's purdier too. :) That being said, my main shooter is a 58 Rem. stainless target model. Just easier to clean.
  5. The_Rifleman

    The_Rifleman New Member

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    I bought the 1858 steel frame because I felt it was the strongest one in the shop. It is easy to shoot/load works like a dream and is pretty accurate too.
  6. kencat

    kencat New Member

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    Thank you for the replies. A remington it will be.
  7. Pustic

    Pustic Member

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    You made a very good choice. Enjoy your Remington.
  8. Gatofeo

    Gatofeo New Member

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    I own both types and like them both.

    I always have trouble getting the cylinder back into my Remingtons. Just seems like it's always a fight. Not the presto-changeo movement that many other Remington owners claim.

    As for strength, it's a moot point as long as you're using black powder or black powder substitutes. Both designs handle black powder pressures quite well.

    The Colt points and handles much better than the Remington. It's better balanced for point shooting. Most shooters who have experience with both will say that the Colt just feels better in their hand, and points better.

    Tapping out the wedge on the Colt, and removing the barrel assembly, takes a few seconds. It's not the onerous task that some seem to paint it as.

    Actually, I like this feature with the Colt: if you get damp powder, forget to add powder before ramming the ball, or add too much powder and can't seat the ball below flush, you can fire the Colt without the barrel assembly attached and "pop" out the troublesome ball.
    I've done it. Just remove the nipple from the offending chamber, remove the offending powder, or trick in a little powder, replace the nipple, cap it, and hand-index it until the offending chamber is under the cocked hammer.
    With the Remington, rectifying these situations is more complicated.

    The Remington has far better sights. The Colt's sights of a notch in the hammer and brass bead are not as well defined. That darned brass bead glows in strong sun, making alignment difficult. An aerosol can of Sight Black will keep the sights of either revolver black and non-reflecting, for target practice.

    The Colt design shrugs off fouling longer, by virture of its larger cylinder pin with grooves in it for fouling to go into.
    The Remington's cylinder pin is skinny, with no place for fouling to be pushed into (no grooves). Consequently, the Remington will drag from fouling before the Colt design.
    But it's not a big deal to give either pin a quick wipe with a swatch of cloth moistened with water, saliva or black powder cleaning solvent.

    The Colt has more parts to lose. The Remington has far fewer parts.

    On the frontier, the Colt made a lot of sense: all components could be switched with a simple screwdriver or nipple wrench. The Remington, if it had a damaged barrel, necessitated a vice to unscrew it from the frame. Kinda tough to find when you're 200 miles from the nearest Army fort.

    But for the beginner, I'd suggest the Remington design. Buy a steel-framed gun, not a brass frame, in either design. Not only are the brass frames inherently more prone to quick wear, but brass-framed guns are almost always more poorly finished and fit than their steel counterparts.
    If you can afford it, get a stainless steel gun. It will be more forgiving when it comes to cleaning. Beginners are notoriously lax about cleaning their cap and ball revolvers immediately to prevent rusting.
    If historical authenticity matters, get a fixed-sight version of the Remington. If not, get one with target adjustable sights or buy a (now discontinued) Ruger Old Army with adjustable sights.

    Get a .44 caliber, because balls of .454 or .457 inch are preferred over the oft-suggested .451 size. The .36 can be a good revolver, but similarly it's best to use oversized balls of .378 or .380 inch -- they're not as readily available as the .454 or .457 inch balls for the .44 caliber.

    Avoid the temptation to stoke your revolver to maximum. It's rarely as accurate and will cause wear quicker.
    If you decide to use Hodgdon 777 -- which is not really a black powder "substitute" but a powder all its own -- visit the Hodgdon site and read up a bit on it. It is not designed to be used with the same powder measures as black powder; it generates significantly higher pressures than black powder.

    If you can get it, use FFFG black powder. Out of all the propellants I've used, it remains the most accurate.

    Buy Uberti if you can afford it. Not only are Ubertis well made, but they have slightly deeper rifling. This helps to shrug off fouling and aids accuracy.
    My own Uberti-made copy of the 1858 Remington -- with carefully assembled loads using a .454 inch ball -- will put six balls into 1-1/2 inch circle at 25 yards from a benchrest.
    My 1860 Colt, if the wedge is tapped in tightly (a critical factor in Colt accuracy) will put six .454 inch balls into 2 inches at 25 yards, from a benchrest.
    Either will outshoot most 9mm modern guns out there, and most .45 ACPs. Not that I'd carry a cap and ball for protection today, but it shows just how accurate cap and ball revolvers can be if you take the time to assemble loads carefully and properly.

    Well, I've prattled on too long. Time to get out in the remote Utah desert where I live and put some holes in paper with my cap and ball revolvers.

    Adios from the ugly, ol' desert cat!
  9. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

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    Well, since TFF went away for a few days, I started looking around in some other forums. I learned that some very inventive guys have found a way to eliminate cap jams on percussion Colts.
    It seems that the notch in the bottom of the Colt's hammer face is the major culprit. The cap "fire forms" to fill in that notch, and the hammer drags the cap away from the nipple when you cock the hammer for the next shot. A couple of guys filled in that notch with J.B.Weld, which cured the cap jam problem, but then the hammer would not engage the little "bumps" between the chambers (which facilitate carrying the gun with all six chambers loaded).

    The ultimate solution seems to be installing a small pin in the frame - the hammer notch fits around this pin when the hammer is down. According to the guys who tried it, this pin stops the spent cap when the hammer pulls it off the nipple.
  10. Nitro

    Nitro New Member

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    Great post, I agree with everything you said. By quoting your post I essentially reposted your post but....I figured it was worth reading twice :cool:
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    john100 what does this have to do cap and ball revolvers?
  12. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    It's a spambot JL4C. DON'T click on any of the links!
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